Change is upon us!

Although spring is far off, I am excited about change, as is, apparently, much of the rest of the world. To facilitate this process, I have signed on to have my studio get an eco-makeover by the Art Inspector. The AI came to my horribly messy studio last week with her documentation crew in tow, as well as a bevy of handy gadgets to test my various materials for their levels of toxicity, and to give me a few pointers in how to make my space more energy efficient. Hooray!

My studio is in an old warehouse, and has very high ceilings and a large wall of windows. It is extremely hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. I have special gear I wear in the winter, for both warmth and agility, not unlike that worn by those gentlemen who luge. The insulation is non-existant. One of the main problems is the most wonderful feature of my space: the windows.

They are old, single pane, full of holes, and seem to be suspended in air, their framework being so rusty and warped and sad. Heat flies out faster than can be generated. It has been suggested I have new ones reinstalled.
Or, I make an effort to patch holes, or cover them entirely. I work mostly at night, enjoying the natural light of my studio far too rarely, so I am considering this suggestion.
The Art Inspector did some tests on the materials I use an as oil painter: paints, turpenoid, various mediums. The Galkyd was pretty toxic. It hit the orange on the AI toxicity meter. It basically got a DUI. It’s gotta go. The paint itself wasn’t too bad, but the paint requires thinners. Turpenoid is not the most salubrious stuff on the planet. It is basically turpentine, with its harsh odors removed. Lindseed oil is an organic (as in natural vs chemical, not as in sustainably farmed), and did not get a high reading on the AI’s meter.
One of the aspects of my process that was discussed was the locality of my materials. I always think about where my food is grown and how far it has travelled before reaching my tummy. But, I have never thought about what sort of wood is used for my stretcher bars. !!??!! Ridiculous, I know! Or, where was my canvas made, and what sort of carbon footprint was amassed in its shipping. Why the values that guide my food choices have not reached my studio eludes me, but I am so excited to see the materials that the AI brings me to use in my practice.

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